Breaking News
February 21, 2019 - Are teens getting high on social media? The surprising study seeking the pot-Instagram link
February 21, 2019 - Stanford expands biobank services | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Scientists identify link between drinking contexts and early onset intoxication among adolescents
February 21, 2019 - Strong social support may reduce cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women
February 21, 2019 - Rapid expansion of interventions could prevent up to 13 million cases of cervical cancer within 50 years
February 21, 2019 - Motif Bio Receives Complete Response Letter From The FDA
February 21, 2019 - Researchers map previously unknown disease in children
February 21, 2019 - A skeptical look at popular diets: Going gluten-free
February 21, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ How Safe Are Your Supplements?
February 21, 2019 - Anticipatory signals in eye movements can help measure attentive capacity, learning with greater precision
February 21, 2019 - Evening exercise does not negatively affect sleep, may also reduce hunger
February 21, 2019 - Artificial intelligence technique can be used to identify alcohol misuse in trauma setting
February 21, 2019 - Overweight, obesity in adolescence associated with increased risk of renal cancer later in life
February 21, 2019 - BGU develops new AI platform for monitoring and predicting ALS progression
February 21, 2019 - Researchers discover a new promising target to improve HIV vaccines
February 21, 2019 - Brief Anesthesia in Infancy Does Not Mar Neurodevelopment
February 21, 2019 - Gaming system helps with autism diagnosis
February 21, 2019 - Heart Disease: Six Things Women Should Know
February 21, 2019 - More States Say Doctors Must Offer Overdose Reversal Drug Along With Opioids
February 21, 2019 - Researchers explore case studies focused on industries that kill more people than employed
February 21, 2019 - Only half of GP practice buildings are fit for purpose
February 21, 2019 - Intense exercise, fasting and hormones can enhance waste-protein removal, study shows
February 21, 2019 - Scientists can monitor brain activity to predict epileptic seizures few minutes in advance
February 21, 2019 - Study quantifies hepatic and intestinal mRNA expression of Ugt isoforms in rats
February 21, 2019 - ‘Apple-Shaped’ Body? ‘Pear-Shaped’? Your Genes May Tell
February 21, 2019 - Can we repair the brain? The promise of stem cell technologies for treating Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - Trump Plan To Beat HIV Hits Rough Road In Rural America
February 21, 2019 - PENTAX Medical introduces new electrosurgical and argon plasma coagulation platforms
February 21, 2019 - Trump plan to beat HIV hits rough road in rural America
February 21, 2019 - Eating blueberries every day could help decrease blood pressure
February 21, 2019 - ‘No Second Chances’ report calls for new measures to combat cardiovascular disease in Australia
February 21, 2019 - Mayo clinic researchers discuss local case studies of leprosy
February 21, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate key role of salt in allergic immune reactions
February 21, 2019 - Experts propose revising the criteria for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease
February 21, 2019 - The med student and the machine
February 21, 2019 - Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Is Striking For School Nurses The Way To Go?
February 21, 2019 - Latest research encourages children to move out and learn through physical activity
February 21, 2019 - Proper oral hygiene and regular visits to dentist can promote heart health
February 21, 2019 - New, versatile technique for remote control of transplanted cells in Parkinson’s
February 21, 2019 - Why melanoma tumors in the brain may be worse?
February 21, 2019 - New project aims to improve lung disease care in Appalachia
February 21, 2019 - Drug increases melanin production in some people with albinism
February 21, 2019 - Over 1 in 3 adults miss the mark on protein, finds study
February 21, 2019 - CymaBay Therapeutics Announces Seladelpar Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA for the Treatment of Primary Biliary Cholangitis
February 21, 2019 - A correlation between obesity and income has only developed in the past 30 years
February 21, 2019 - Baby, then work: An effort to help resident-parents in emergency medicine
February 21, 2019 - Heavy cigarette smoking could damage vision, say researchers
February 21, 2019 - Some drug combinations may be more effective than others for schizophrenic patients
February 21, 2019 - Combination of common antibiotics can eliminate multi-drug resistant E. coli
February 21, 2019 - Number of calls to U.S. Poison Control regarding kratom exposure increased
February 21, 2019 - New computational tool searches for factors that cause specific diseases
February 21, 2019 - New method to assess effectiveness of psychotherapies for social anxiety disorder
February 21, 2019 - New technology measures hormones that influence reproductive health efficiently
February 21, 2019 - Bat influenza viruses could potentially attack the cells of humans and livestock
February 21, 2019 - Immunotherapeutic antibody therapy to kill cancer has now progressed to patient testing
February 21, 2019 - Johns Hopkins scientists find new compound that may prevent reperfusion injury
February 21, 2019 - Researchers develop new way to deliver treatment for cartilage regeneration
February 21, 2019 - Study sheds new light on left ventricular dysfunction in ischemic heart disease
February 21, 2019 - New technique could expedite cancer diagnosis, lead to better patient outcomes
February 21, 2019 - New map of infant brain may aid early diagnosis of autism
February 21, 2019 - Human consciousness depends on the brain’s ability to maintain dynamics of neural activity
February 21, 2019 - Harmony Biosciences Announces File Acceptance Of Its New Drug Application For Pitolisant
February 21, 2019 - Medications could fill treatment gap for adolescents with obesity
February 21, 2019 - New antibiotics are desperately needed: Machine learning could help | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Researchers develop new computer game for dementia carers
February 21, 2019 - University of Dundee partners with Takeda to develop new treatments for tau pathology
February 21, 2019 - Influenza vaccine may be less effective in elderly patients, finds study
February 21, 2019 - Researchers explain why T cells lose their protective ability in inflamed tissues
February 21, 2019 - New optimization method rapidly analyzes nanomedicines for cancer treatment
February 21, 2019 - Viruses in the intestinal tracts can lead to islet autoimmunity and Type 1 diabetes
February 21, 2019 - Link between dietary fatty acid intake and hypertension found to be influenced by diabetes status
February 21, 2019 - FDA Approves Esperoct (turoctocog alfa pegol, N8-GP) for Hemophilia A
February 21, 2019 - ‘Boy erased’—why conversion therapies and ex-gay ministries should be outlawed
February 21, 2019 - Titia de Lange to give annual McCormick Lecture on March 8 | News Center
February 21, 2019 - Study reveals how helper T cells support memory cells to function optimally
February 21, 2019 - Autistic children with co-occurring ADHD have greater adaptive behavior impairments
February 21, 2019 - Elevated levels of key cellular process implicated in intestinal inflammation and IBD
February 20, 2019 - Over Half of Hip Replacements Expected to Last 25 Years
February 20, 2019 - Microscopic eye movements affect how we see contrast
February 20, 2019 - Computer vs. patient: Fighting for residents’ attention | News Center
Threat to the ACA turns up the heat on attorney general races

Threat to the ACA turns up the heat on attorney general races

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

For years, congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now, in a case sending shock waves through midterm election campaigns, Republican attorneys general across the country may be poised to make good on that promise.

The case, Texas v. United States, reveals just how high the stakes are for health care in this year’s attorney general races, elections that rarely receive much attention but have the power to reverberate through the lives of Americans.

“It just shows that nothing is safe,” said Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, who is leading 16 states and the District of Columbia in defending the ACA in the case.

Both parties expect record-breaking fundraising for this year’s 30 contested elections for state attorneys general. Democrats aim to translate public outrage over the threat to the ACA into the votes needed to seize a handful of posts currently held by Republicans.

This will be the first major election since Republicans tore up a deal brokered with Democrats roughly two decades ago not to challenge each other’s incumbents in attorney general races. That gentlemen’s agreement acknowledged the need for attorneys general from both parties to collaborate on investigations and lawsuits.

But some of the same partisan forces that have embittered Capitol Hill have spilled into these contests. With Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches — and close to staking their claim on the Supreme Court — Democratic attorneys general are seen as a check on Trump administration policies. Similarly, their Republican counterparts frequently took the Obama administration to court.

That pressure is likely to increase should congressional Democrats fail to win control of at least one chamber of Congress in November.

Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of California State University’s Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs in Los Angeles, compared the politics invigorating state attorneys general to a bar brawl.

“Two people have a fight, and then it spills out into the street, and 20 people join in,” he said. “Everybody gets off the bench and joins the fight.”

A banner on the Democratic Attorneys General Association’s website captures their mindset, while states are busy challenging the Trump administration on issues like sanctuary cities and family separations at the border: “This office has never been more important.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden recently endorsed six attorney general candidates in races Democrats think they can win, including Ohio and Wisconsin, and the association plans to raise a record-breaking $15 million for November’s elections, said Lizzie Ulmer, a spokeswoman for the group.

By mid-June, the Republican Attorneys General Association had raised $26.6 million, continuing to break its fundraising records.

Of this year’s 30 contested attorney general races, 18 posts are held by Republicans and 12 are held by Democrats. (Another five are in play this year, but those posts are appointed by the governor or state lawmakers.)

Unlike in Congress, there is no inherent advantage to one party claiming the majority of attorneys general posts. It takes just one attorney general to file a lawsuit.

But Democratic attorneys general see themselves as a firewall against an administration and their Republican counterparts dead set on revoking many federal protections. In that arena, every lawyer counts.

That is especially the case with health care, where fights over issues like access to abortion have multiplied since President Donald Trump took office, with others liable to end up in the courts at any time.

Earlier this month, a federal judge heard arguments in Texas v. United States on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the ACA’s requirement that all Americans obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

Citing the law passed late last year that eliminated the penalty, the plaintiffs — a Texas-led coalition of 20 states and two individuals — argued the individual mandate was now unconstitutional. By extension, so was the rest of the ACA, they said. They asked for a preliminary injunction that could halt the sweeping ACA in its tracks — including popular provisions such as protections for people with preexisting conditions.

Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, has defended his decision to challenge protections that have broad support, including among Republicans, saying he has a duty to fight laws that harm Texans and defy the U.S. Constitution.

“The least compassionate thing we could do for those with preexisting health problems is to take away their access to high-quality care from doctors of their own choosing and place them entirely at the mercy of the federal government,” Matt Welch, Paxton’s campaign spokesman, said in a statement.

But the idea that insurers would no longer have to cover those with preexisting conditions has proven explosive, offering Democrats a powerful rallying cry beyond even attorney general races. In Missouri and West Virginia, states that Trump won in 2016 but are represented by Democratic senators, the issue has followed the Republican attorneys general — Missouri’s Josh Hawley and West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey — as they run for Senate.

“We’re wasting millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money trying to take away preexisting condition protections not just for all Texans but all Americans,” said Justin Nelson, Paxton’s Democratic challenger, who said he would withdraw Texas from the case should he win his long-shot bid.

In Wisconsin, the Republican attorney general, Brad Schimel, has also taken a leading role in Texas v. United States, as well as a 2016 challenge to a landmark Obama administration rule banning discrimination in health care based on a patient’s gender identity, among other cases.

This year, Schimel has drawn a formidable Democratic challenger, Josh Kaul. He’s a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted federal drug crimes and has promised to focus on the state’s backlog of untested rape kits and take a more aggressive approach to the opioid epidemic. “We’re not going to beat that without ensuring our efforts are targeting large-scale drug traffickers,” he said.

Experts caution a changing of the guard would not spell the end of a big case like Texas v. United States. For instance, even if Paxton were to defy expectations and lose, Texas’ legal and financial backing for the case could easily be picked up by another state.

However, the message voters would send by electing a Democratic attorney general in Texas — where no Democrat has won statewide office since 1994 — could have profound implications for Republican morale.

“Without Ken Paxton leading the charge, many Republicans may soften their opposition to Obamacare,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles